What is my recourse if my father passed away without a Will and my mother, his ex-wife, took everything.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What is my recourse if my father passed away without a Will and my mother, his ex-wife, took everything.

My father passed away and I am the oldest child. My mother whom he was

married to for 21 years, but also been divorced from 20 years, swooped in and

collected anything she could get. She immediately collected on SSI and

retirement benefits not handing down anything to me or my sister. Neither had

remarried but I know he would not want her to get anything. This occurred in

6 years ago. Do I have any legal rights to his financial inheritance?

Asked on April 16, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, she has no rights to inherit from him if he did not have a will: a current spouse will inherit if there is no will, but an ex-spouse does not inherit unless and only if there is a will leaving part of the estate to her. Without a will, an ex-spouse receives nothing on her former spouse's death, except anything which he owned jointly with her (e.g. if they were the joint owners, as joint tenants with right of survivorship, of real estate) or which was "pay on death" (POD) or "transfer on death" (TOD), like certain bank accounts. 
Whomever is the personal representative for the estate could sue her to recover whatever she took and bring it back to the estate, to distribute to their heirs (you and your siblings). If you wish to explore doing this, consult with a probate attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption